Not all Vitamin C's are Created Equal: What You Need to Know
Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that should not only be incorporated into your diet but into your skincare as well. This vitamin is amazing for fighting off free radicals, increasing collagen, and reducing pigmentation. There are a handful of vitamins that our body cannot synthesize, including Vitamin C. Vitamin C has a very short period of activity, so replenishing it daily, both nutritionally and topically, is super important. Did you know that you cannot produce collagen without Vitamin C?!
Now that you know how important Vitamin C is, you should also know that not all Vitamin C Serums are created equally. There are two forms of Vitamin C: THD Ascorbate and L-Ascorbic Acid. It's important it figure out which one is right for you. First, because the two forms have different levels of effectiveness and stability. And second, because if one form is unsuitable for you it could irritate your skin.
THD Ascorbate is a stable, oil-soluble form of Vitamin C that cosmetics, personal care products, and anti-aging skincare all use. Products utilize THD Ascorbate because of its extreme stability. It readily permeates cells and is converted to intracellular pure Ascorbic Acid. Due to this, THD Ascorbate greatly enhances collagen, reduces free radicals, prevents damage to DNA, reduces inflammation mediators, and skin pigmentation. Since this form of Vitamin C is oil-soluble and stable, clients are able to use it on a daily basis without being irritated or flaky.
L-Ascorbic Acid is 100% pure Vitamin C. It’s a naturally occurring, water-soluble antioxidant that is very unstable. This means L-Ascorbic Acid, when used in skincare, can be very irritating to the skin. This form gradually starts to turn color over time, meaning it starts to oxidize and lose efficacy. Ascorbic Acid is the acidic form of Vitamin C, the form needed for collagen synthesis. However, this unstable form can’t deliver pure Ascorbic Acid every day through the skin without redness and irritation.
Which one should you use?:
L-Ascorbic is the most irritating and least stable form of Vitamin C. Its half-life is at most 6 months because of it’s rapid oxidization process. Sometimes it can start oxidizing in the bottle! If that happens, it will actually produce free radicals instead of stopping them. Even when formulated correctly, it STILL oxidizes, which can be extremely harmful to the skin. To be effective and safe, a stable form of L-Ascorbic is ideal, such as THD Ascorbate.
Looking for it in Skincare:
We highly recommend Revision Skincare’s Vitamin C Serum, which contains THD Ascorbate acid. Revision has tested both their Vitamin C 15% and 30% to withstand weather conditions without oxidizing. However, if you’re looking for other skincare products with Vitamin C, remember that they will never list the word “vitamin”. In the ingredients, they will only list the formal chemical name. Look for the words “ascorbyl” or “ascorbate.” Below is a list of common names of stabilized Vitamin C that shouldn’t irritate your skin.
Common Forms of Vitamin C:
- Ascorbic Acid (L-Ascorbic Acid)
- Ascorbyl Palmitate
- Sodium Ascorbate
- Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP)
- Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THDA) (also denoted Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate)
- Ascorbyl Glucosamine
- Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate